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Full body stretches help you increase your range of motion and feel great in your body! Explore these stretches designed to help you stretch all your muscles.
How To Do A Full Body Stretch
A full body stretch can make you feel great. It’s a great way to help alleviate dull aches and pains, whether you’re getting out of bed in the morning or you’re cooling down after a workout.
“Incorporating full body yoga stretches into our day is extremely important in ensuring the longevity and full use of our muscles as we progress through life,” says Kat Harvin, an E-RYT at CorePower Yoga-Atlanta.
“In the same way you want your muscles to be strong, you want them also to provide a full range of motion. We put our bodies through so much every day and stretching provides the balance we need to help every muscle work the way it’s supposed to, and counteract the stress we place on them,” she says.
Best Full Body Stretches
In our opinion, the best stretches are the ones that happen to home in on some of your tightest areas. Release multiple areas of tension with stretches that target all areas of your body, not just one.
Do the following full body stretches anywhere and at anytime.
Target muscle group: Inner thighs or piriformis
Bound angle pose is great to open your inner thighs. If you have tight hamstrings and hips, you may feel a pull in your glutes (we suggest grabbing two blocks to place under your knees to alleviate this pain).
- Come to a seated position.
- Bring the soles of your feet together. Let your knees fall to the sides.
- Position your feet as close to your pelvis as comfortably possible.
- Press your sits bones to the mat and sit up tall.
- Grip your feet firmly (avoid unnecessary force in your grip to protect your knees) with your hands.
- Hinge forward from your hips with a straight spine.
- To increase the stretch in your inner thighs, use your elbows to press down on your knees gently. Option to reach out arms straight out in front of you to lengthen your shoulders and arm muscles.
Seated Side Stretch and Chest Stretch
Target muscle group: intercostals, lats, pecs, and shoulders
Seated side stretch is a great stretch to open up both the right and left side of your body. Many people love doing this stretch upon getting out of bed.
- Come to a seated, cross-legged position.
- Inhale to lift your arms straight overhead.
- As you exhale, lengthen through your left side and drop your right hand to the floor. Leave your left arm overhead with your bicep by your ear.
- Press your left sit bone down into the mat to lengthen your side and increase the stretch. Option to gaze down or up, whatever feels best on your neck.
- Stay in the stretch for a few deep breaths.
- On an inhale, bring your right hand up to meet your left arm overhead.
- Exhale, bringing your left palm to the floor and reach your right arm overhead.
- Stay here for a few breaths.
- Return to center on the inhale.
For a chest stretch option, clasp your hands behind your back with soft elbows. Take a deep breath and squeeze your shoulders together and straighten your arms. Gaze up toward the ceiling. On your exhale breath, release your hands.
Target muscle group: traps and rhomboids
Full eagle pose is a challenging standing, balancing posture that requires intense focus. If you want to focus solely on your upper body, eagle arms is a great way to stretch your shoulders and back.
- Stand with your arms out to the sides of you.
- Cross your right elbow under your left elbow and bring your palms to touch (point your fingers toward the ceiling). If aligning your hands is uncomfortable on your shoulders, option to modify. To modify, cross your arms at your chest and reach for opposite shoulders (like giving yourself a big bear hug).
- Lift your elbows in line with your shoulders and pull your palms away from your face. You should feel a stretch in between your shoulder blades.
- After a few breaths, unwrap your arms.
- Repeat on the other side, this time crossing the left arm under of your right.
Target muscle group: psoas and quads.
Runner’s lunge is a static stretch that will target your psoas muscles (front of the hips) and your quadriceps or thigh.
- Start in a plank position. Align your shoulders over your wrists and lengthen your torso and legs.
- Step your right foot between your hands. Align your knee over your ankle to protect your joints.
- Lengthen your back leg long and square your hips to deepen the pose.
- If it’s more comfortable, you can lower your left knee to the floor (this may even intensify the stretch in your hips).
Standing Separate Leg Forehead to Knee
Targeted muscles: psoas and hamstrings.
- From runner’s lunge, straighten your right leg and lift your hips up and back (imagine your lower body in a pyramid shape).
- Step your back foot forward and press your back heel firmly into mat. Straighten both legs (keep a slight bend in your right knee if needed). Turn your toes outward at about a 45-degree angle.
- Tuck your chin and bring your forehead to your right knee.
- Surrender your torso toward your right thigh and breathe deeply. Frame your front leg with your arms.
- To return to runners lunge, bend your front knee and lower your hips down toward the mat.
- Swap out your legs and repeat the motions on the second side.
Target muscle group: Glutes and piriformis
Because many of us sit and work at a desk all day, we have tighter hips and glutes. Figure four is an excellent stretch to counterbalance this action!
- Lie down on your back, with knees bent over your ankles and soles of your feet on the floor.
- Cross your right ankle over your left knee. The boney part of your ankle should be on the outside of your knee.
- Flex your right foot to protect your knee and reduce any discomfort.
- Lift your left leg away from the floor. Keep your left knee bent to 90 degrees.
- Reach your arms around your left leg (on either side) and interlace your fingers against your left hamstring.
- If possible, press your right elbow into your right leg near your knee to intensify the stretch.
- You should feel a gentle stretch in your right glute and piriformis. Hold for a few breaths.
- Repeat on the left side.